Rojek, writer-director Zaynê Akyol’s documentary that attempts to trace the beginning, rise and fall of the Islamic State through the personal stories of its members and their wives incarcerated in prison camps, was selected Thursday by Canada to represent the country in the 2024 Oscar Best International Feature Film race.
A total of 28 films were submitted for consideration, with Rojek emerging today in a vote determined by a pan-Canadian committee of industry organizations and guilds, as well as filmmakers and industry professionals appointed to represent organizations. Telefilm Canada organizes the committee.
Rojek, which features a mix of Arabic, English, French, and Kurdish languages, opened in Canadian theatres on January 20 after making the rounds at festivals including winning a special jury prize at Hot Docs. It is produced by Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre, Sylvain Corbeil, and Akyol of Métafilms. Icarus Films distributes the film in the U.S.
“In what may have been Canada’s most competitive year ever, Rojek was selected by a jury of industry peers as the film to best represent Canada in the Oscar race,” Telefilm Canada director and CEO Julie Roy said. “This announcement marks the beginning of an incredible journey and a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Rojek to reach audiences around the world and give them just a taste of the quality of filmmaking that Canada has to offer. We wish Zaynê, Metafilms, and the entire creative team all the best of luck as they move forward.”
Canadian films have reached the nomination stage for the Best International Feature Film category (formerly Best Foreign Language Film) eight times, most recently in 2013 for Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle. Denys Arcand had three of those nominated films, with 2004’s Les Invasions barbares the only Canadian film to have won the Oscar in the category.
The deadline for countries to submit for the 2024 Oscars is October 2.
Here is the list of submissions so far: